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Ideas for improving the IAP2 certificate program?

Another thing I’ve been invited to do in Sydney is to attend the 2-day IAP2 Summit 2011, which is focused on improving IAP2’s certificate program in public participation.  About 18 of us will be exploring these questions on February 6th and 7th:

What would a world-class certificate program look like? What will make it the best in the world? What will make it unique to IAP2?

I’d love to hear from some NCDDers who have gone through the certificate program about what worked really well about the training, and what do you think should have been different?

And for those of you who aren’t familiar with the certificate program or haven’t participated yet, I’d love to hear what types of specific content, skills, etc. you feel are the most valuable to cover in a training on engaging the public in policy-making.

Also, who are the very best trainers you have ever worked with?  We’ll be discussing who can/should be approached to develop materials based on their expertise and capacity to deliver.

Other “summitteers” are Lyn Carson, Moira Deslandes, Jan Elliott, Michelle Feenan, Teresa Forest, John Gastil, Janette Hartz-Karp, David Kahane, Lars Kluver, Matt Leighninger, Rodolfo Lewanski, Ron Lubensky, Stephani Roy McCallum, Doug Sarno, Vivien Twyford, Mark Warren, and Kimbra White–so it’s quite the impressive group!

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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  1. I got this response from Jan Wilberg on FaceBook…

    I went through the program a while ago and it has really benefited my practice. Can't think of any improvements!

  2. Amy Lang says:

    I'm now working on the civic engagement strategy at the City of Toronto. This year we'll be piloting new engagement training programs at the City of Toronto for managers and staff. We are early in our curriculum design process but there are two things that we have taken as key principles in designing our courses:

    1. We recognized early on that training needs to be tailored to meet the needs of different audiences. A basic distinction we have identified is training for managers in different divisions who have to make strategic decisions about when to invest resources in what kind of engagement; and staff who actually do the planning, execution & follow up on engagement. We are piloting a course for each of these groups. Perhaps this is something IAP2 might consider.

    2. Talking to staff here the City (and when I ran a similar program at SFU), a common theme I have heard about external training is that it often does not go far enough to address the complex context of working in government. Being able to navigate political pressures and layers of administrative authority is key to doing engagement at all, let alone well. I would love to see more discussion/training on this – indeed, we're trying to develop some ourselves!

    Happy to chat more about this offline. Hope your conference was a productive experience! – Amy

  3. Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts, Amy! Both of these points were brought up and discussed by participants in the meeting. I'm not sure if IAP2 will end up designing multiple courses for different audiences (they may just continue to allow their trainers to tailor the courses), or if they will incorporate more advice/strategies for working within complex government structures… but those things are definitely on the table at this point.

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